Molley Kelley scrapbook image

Molley Kelley
Briarcliff Manor, NY
With clear, blocky handwriting and dogged intentionality, Molly Kelley unfolds her chronicle over the pages of her book so that the passage of time is carefully orchestrated: there are drawings, collages, certificates, and posters; artifacts rescued from a hike; diary entries recording special dinners with Aunt Jessie; even a fragment from a broken shovel. Today, eighty years later, the ghosted impressions of cloth tape (cellophane tape wouldn’t be invented for another year or so) add an additional layer of withered beauty to these pages, once carefully composed, with limited means, by a thoughtful young diarist.

10.01.09     Comments (1)     digg | | reddit


It is fascinating to ponder whether Kelley, and any other scrapbookist in Helfand's collection, ever imagined their scrapbooks being viewed by an audience larger than themselves or their families. With the anticipation of a larger audience, I suspect these scrapbooks would have taken on an entirely different form; perhaps a less authentic, yet more polished form.
posted on 10.01.09 by Karl Sparrman

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Scrapbooks cover A New Book by Jessica Helfand
Coming this fall from Yale University Press

A gorgeous visual history of American scrapbooks and their evolution over two hundred years. 242 pages, 425 photographs printed in full color.

Combining pictures, words, and a wealth of personal ephemera, scrapbook makers preserve on the pages of their books a moment, a day, or a lifetime. Highly subjective, rich in emotional meaning, the scrapbook is a unique and often quirky form of expression in which a person gathers and arranges meaningful materias to create a personal narrative. This richly illustrated book is the first to focus close attention on the history of American scrapbooks—their origins, their makers, their diverse forms, the reasons for their popularity, and their place in American cultural life.
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The New York Times June 8, 2008

In this Op-Ed page SUMMERSCAPES, Jessica Helfand reflects on the fascinating "Stunt" Book kept by a young California debutante in the summer of 1920.

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came from a distinguished family in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She kept a detailed scrapbook of her adventures that profiles life in the south during the 1920s.

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